Women’s Volleyball Preview

Teams: UC Davis at Cal Poly; UC Davis at UC Santa Barbara
Records: Aggies, 13-13 (7-6); Mustangs, 3-21 (2-10); Gauchos, 13-14 (6-6)
Where: San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Santa Barbara, Calif.
When: Friday at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 7 p.m.
Who to Watch: Although the Aggies suffered a home loss to the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in their last matchup, junior outside hitter Devon Damelio had a noteworthy performance that she will look to repeat this weekend.

Damelio recorded 12 kills and 14 digs to complete an impressive double-double in her team’s 3-1 loss to the Gauchos.

The following night, the team pulled a quick 180 and followed the lead of Damelio en route to a 3-0 stomping of visiting Cal Poly. The junior outside hitter yet again recorded impressive stats with 12 more kills to go along with a .333 hitting average.

The Aggies will pair up with these two teams once more this weekend in back-to-back fashion. Damelio puts up big numbers against these two teams, so look for a big couple of games from this force to be reckoned with.

Did you know? UC Davis is three games above .500 on the road this year, going a respectable 9-6.

No, Aggies fans, this is no insult to your steadfast loyalty or unwavering enthusiasm.

Rather, it shows a gene of resiliency and toughness that is embedded deep in the core of this Aggie team. Some teams have it, others don’t, but it is safe to say it is not something that can be learned.

Some notable road performances this year include senior Allison Whitson’s 19 kills in the Aggies’ win against UC Irvine on Oct. 6. Junior setter Jenny Woolway recorded 36 assists in an impressive 3-1 victory over Cal State Northridge on Oct. 26 while Damelio hit a spectacular .579 average against UC Riverside the following night.

The Aggies will look to unleash this road rampage they have been on and avenge their home loss to UC Santa Barbara just under a month ago.

Preview: All right, Aggies fans, take a seat in your respective corners and wait for the bell to signal round two. The Aggies will be facing opponents Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara back to back for the second time this season, this time on the road.

UC Davis will start off the weekend taking on the Mustangs, who they have fared quite well against in the past. But, don’t let last month’s sweep fool you. At this level, teams learn extremely quickly and can change their approach faster than you can correctly pronounce “libero.”

“Cal Poly is a team that has made a lot of changes in their player personnel and in their lineups,” said coach Jamie Holmes. “So for us, we’re scouting them like it was the first time we’ve played them.”

While Cal Poly may be experimenting with their approach, Holmes continues to preach the same fundamental, aggressive volleyball that she has trained her players with all year long.

“Serving tough will be important to take them out of system,” Holmes said. “They generally don’t force their middle attack, which will allow our outside blockers to put up a solid block.”

As for the Gauchos, UC Davis will hope to achieve some redemption against a team that got the best of them in their last matchup.

“I would like to take a lot more risks when it comes to Santa Barbara — just to take them out of system,” Holmes said. “The first time around we didn’t serve as tough as we could have and as a result they really forced their middles.”

An aggressive and frequent middle attack by any Divison I offensive can cause a headache for the opposing team’s blockers, so let’s hope the game starts and finishes with a serve.

— PK Hattis

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